Look Out for These Health Dangers If You Come Into Contact with Flood Waters

An especially relevant advisory.

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Ideally, flood waters are not presently creeping up your front stoop. But someday it might, either because of a natural disaster or a water main break. Either way, it’s best to be informed about the many hazards of this murky tide—and how to stay safe. 

First, keep in mind everything that the flood could have been in contact with up until the moment you come in contact with it. The bits of garbage, chemicals, sewage, and debris is just the beginning of your concerns. Dangerous bacteria could be permeating the water, pathogens like Cryptosporidium, cholera, E. Coli and Clostridium difficile, (in coastal regions) Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria commonly found in shellfish, and other dangerous superbugs, according to ABC News. (For a full list of the health risks of flood water, refer to the World Health Organization.)

The water isn’t going to be crystalline by any stretch, so one must keep in mind potential hazards that lurk under the surface. The force of the flood barging into your home could expose nails or other sharp objects that could result in injury. Tread lightly, and make every effort to keep open wounds away from contaminated water.

Sitting water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and, in turn, mosquito-borne illnesses. Use repellant, if available, but your best bet is just getting away from the fetid water as soon as possible. 

Be sure to quickly sanitize any object/body part that comes in contact with flood water—and do your best to keep it away from your mouth. Keeping your feet dry is also key, as extended contact with flood water can lead to the development of trench foot, a condition which can cause blistering and decaying of tissue (sort of like Athlete’s Foot, but much worse). Change socks and shoes frequently, and sleep sans-socks.

If your area is issued an evacuation notice, be sure to follow it. Also, don’t forget to do this before you leave your house.  

[Source: ABC News]

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